Postproduction. After years of researching, filming, copying data and making backups, we finally reached postproduction.
“Did you start editing in between or just at the end?” –

If we would have started editing at the very end, this film would not be finished in a very long time. When shooting footage over the course of years, often with month in between the recordings, making pre-selects, stringouts and transcriptions of interviews was absolutely essential.
While doing so has it’s drawbacks in the form of wasted time on protagonists that do not end up in the film, it gives you a very good insight into the state of production while still shooting.
Unlike fiction, the story you end up filmming might be a complete different one than the one you envisioned when embarking on a project.

"AI tools have changed editing forever"

When working with hours upon hours of interviews, it becomes close to impossible to remember all the details, all the expressions on faces, the small smiles and the words said in between sentences, quiet but powerful.We started working early on with online tools that automated transcription. Create rushes > upload > transcribe.

It was the early days of AI though, two years ago but it feels like a decade in developments. Transcriptions were okay, but for every hour of transcription, another 30min had to be spent cleaning up the texts. How else would you find words, expressions again when they were misspelled?

Come October 2023 and all of that changed. Quietly, OpenAI released “Whisper”, a multi-language speech recognition Ai model that could even handle the thickest of irish accents. Flawless. We have to admit, it sometimes understood the irish better than we did.

What followed is still revolutionising the way we edit. Tools like “Storytoolkit” let us not only transcribe raw material, we can semantically search 10 interviews at the same time, looking for sentences we lost over years of editing. We no longer need to search for specific words. A simple idea is enough. “A sentence about family” “Quotes about the past” “Joyful statements about surfing”…. AI isn’t replacing our storytelling. It let’s us find and access information within our own footage faster. It’s like a google search engine for our archive.

Storytoolkit is like Google for your footage

So in the end, Ai did not tell the story we wanted to tell. And it will not tell the stories we want to tell. Maybe it will tell its own stories one day.

In the meantime, it might help us find the soundbites we need to tell the stories we want to tell.